According to a new report by Quest Diagnostics, a company that utilizes its vast nationwide database of clinical lab results to provide diagnostic insight into identifying and treating disease, data from an eight-year survey (2010-2018) show there are now confirmed positive reports of Lyme disease in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia, meaning hunters everywhere need to be more tick-aware.
The report highlights a dramatic rise in the rate of positive test results nationwide from 6.7 percent in 2014 to 11.2 percent in 2017. In the Northeast, where historically Lyme disease has been most prevalent, New England saw an almost 50 percent increase in Lyme disease occurrence during 2017 compared to positive test results in 2015. Pennsylvania showed a 78 percent increase in occurrence during 2017 when compared to 2015 results.
Even Florida and California, where Lyme disease was previously less common, showed a 77 percent and 194.5 percent increase, respectively, in occurrence in 2017 compared to 2015.
Hunters can best protect themselves from Lyme disease by avoiding tall grass and leaf piles, utilizing a tick repellent such as permethrin and covering exposed skin. Symptoms of Lyme disease can mimic the flu and may leave a bullseye-like mark at the bite location.